In her book The Walls Are Talking: Former Abortion Clinic Workers Tell Their Stories, Abby Johnson compiles the stories of former abortion center workers who have left the abortion industry. Among the compelling and disturbing stories in the book is that of one facility worker who witnessed a third trimester induction abortion and its aftermath.
Third trimester abortions are generally performed by the induction method. In this method of abortion, the doctor first inserts laminaria sticks into the woman’s body. These absorb fluid and expand, slowly opening the cervix and preparing the woman for her abortion. The doctor then injects a substance into the baby or amniotic sac which causes cardiac arrest in the nearly full-term child. This is done on two consecutive days. The third day, labor is induced and the mother essentially “gives birth” to a dead baby.
In Johnson’s story, an abortion clinic worker describes being sent from her own clinic to visit a late-term abortion facility that was very efficient and successful at making money. She was sent to observe the way the facility was run and report back to her employer.
Shortly after the visiting worker arrived at the facility, a woman named Jessica arrived to have an abortion at 28 weeks. Babies delivered at that age routinely survive.
The reason for the abortion was that Jessica’s boyfriend had broken up with her, and in her pain and despair over the breakup, she didn’t think she could handle having a baby without his support. The abortion worker says she wondered if such a reason was valid – Jessica was making a decision in the grip of powerful emotions. Would she regret her choice later?
The baby and mother were perfectly healthy.
Jessica seemed upset when she arrived at the clinic. The doctor injected her baby with digoxin (a heart drug which, when used for abortion, causes cardiac arrest in the preborn child), then sent her to a hotel. This late-term abortion facility regularly sent their patients to a local hotel after injecting digoxin. The patients would stay for two nights, then come back to the abortion center the next day to be induced.
As the woman was packed off, the visiting worker saw them hand a bag to her as she went out the door. She asked one of the workers what the bag was for. The woman replied:
“Do-it-yourself abortion kit,” an administrative assistant answered as she shuffled papers. “It’s just a biohazard bag and cinch, some gauze, and scissors. You know, just in case they deliver in their rooms.”
The next day, Jessica returned to the facility to have the old laminaria removed and the new laminaria put in. They did an ultrasound, and discovered that the baby was still alive. They figured that the digoxin would just take a little longer to work, and they sent her back to the hotel.
The abortionist showed little sympathy towards Jessica:
The doctor, who rarely made an appearance at the clinic other than on procedure days, was there when I arrived. Initially, I had been eager to meet him, but after a few moments of his company, I’d had my fill. He was somewhat attractive, and I could sense that he was a strong and charismatic leader. It quickly became evident to me that his ego was off the charts, and his anger was thinly veiled. That veil grew thinner still when Jessica didn’t show for her procedure.
Jessica did not return to the facility on time. The workers called her multiple times, but she did not answer. Finally they called the manager of the hotel and demanded they put Jessica on the line. Jessica told the clinic that she had changed her mind about the abortion.
“I need to go to the ER,” she sobbed. “I want to save my baby.”
The abortionist must have heard Jessica’s end of the conversation as well. He snatched the phone from the nurse and demanded that she come in to the clinic immediately to finish the procedure. “The fetus will be dead soon enough from the digoxin,” he insisted. “This is what you wanted.”
“But the baby has been moving around all night,” she cried. “It’s struggling.”
When he realized that he wasn’t getting anywhere with her, he slammed the phone down. He grabbed his keys and ordered his nurse and assistant to follow him.
“Where are you going?” I asked.
“To the hotel,” he answered. “We are going to convince her to come in.”
The doctor and clinic workers drove to the hotel to force Jessica to come in. They brought her into the clinic through the rear door, “heaving her toward the procedure room.” She arrived heavily drugged by the doctor.
Jessica’s long dark hair was matted and glued to the side of her face by tears and saliva. Her face was a maze of red blotches, and her eyes were nearly swollen shut. Obviously drugged, she seemed to be making an effort to raise her foot to take a step on her own, but the nurses were impatient and wouldn’t wait for her to coordinate her steps and dragged her instead.”
They put her on the table where she lay: “moaning and cradling her swollen belly.”
Jessica still insisted she wanted her baby. The doctor sedated her again as she struggled to get away:
As the doctor approached, Jessica lamely attempted to roll off of the table. Whatever they had given her at the hotel, or in route, had sedated her to the point that her efforts were futile. She continued to whimper and squirm and do everything in her power to get off of that table. The nurse grabbed her arm, effortlessly restraining her, and injected an additional dose of sedation into her vein. Within mere seconds, Jessica’s arm went limp and hit the metal table with a thud.
Under ultrasound guidance, the doctor administered another dose of digoxin through Jessica’s abdomen. I had a clear shot of the screen from my seat. I saw the perfect outline of her baby: I witnessed it kick its legs and shift in an attempt to avoid the needle. The commotion was finally over and the room was filled with uncomfortable silence. It took about 30 minutes for the baby to die.
The dead baby was delivered with the facility workers pushing on Jessica’s abdomen, as she was unconscious and unable to push.
The worker said:
It was a boy. I remember being taken aback by how beautiful he was. The doctor snatched him, snipped the cord, wrapped him in blue paper, and tossed him into a red biohazard bag like so much garbage…
She couldn’t help but wonder:
“What would have been wrong with supporting her decision to attempt to save her baby? Was it simply a liability issue? Perhaps they were afraid of whatever complications a non-lethal dose of digoxin would have caused the baby.”’
When Jessica woke up, she was overcome with emotion:
Jessica struggled to sit upright, and began to scream. “Where is he? I need to see him! I need to see him!”
I jumped out of the way as the nurse and assistant raced toward her.
“You need to stop,” the nurse hissed.
Neither the nurse nor the assistant made the slightest effort to mask their annoyance and disgust. When Jessica’s screams persisted, they threatened to call the police. Their cruelty and threats only fueled her panic. The doctor finally burst through the door. He spat curses as he lumbered towards her. Jessica was instantly silenced and physically shrunk from him.
“I just need to hold him,” she begged. “Please.”
He scoffed at her request, and when Jessica resumed her deafening pleas to hold her dead baby, he ordered the assistant to call the police and walked away. The complete lack of empathy on the part of the workers struck me. Instead of doing what they could do calm and console her, they rolled their eyes and exchanged snide comments.
The abortionist called the police on the poor woman to shut her up and force her from the facility. The police forced her to leave.
The worker said:
Her cries could be heard even after the clinic door slammed and the officers escorted her down the sidewalk. She left that day with the knowledge that she was responsible for the death of her child, and with her requests to hold him and beg his forgiveness denied.…
I felt my cheeks flushed with anger when I heard the workers mocking Jessica.
The horrible scene in the facility shows that many abortion providers don’t care about their patients or about doing the right thing by them. The doctor and his abortion workers terrorized a woman and murdered her baby against her will, drugging her and dragging her into the facility. When they were done with her, they treated her like a criminal and called the police. One can only imagine the horrible emotional trauma Jessica had to undergo, and the emotional scars that she now carries.
Source: Abby Johnson The Walls Are Talking: Former Abortion Clinic Workers Tell Their Stories (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2016) 60-67
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